Neuroscience behind Mindfulness practiceHeidi Hadley
The mindfulness sessions are having a profound effect on your neurological health. MRI scans show that after just 8 weeks of mindfulness practice, the area of the brain linked to the “fight or flight” response appears to shrink. This part of the brain is called the amygdala. It is an old part of the brain which links primitive responses to external events. It is involved with initiating the body’s response to stress.
As the amygdala begins to shrink, the higher order or pre frontal part of the brain becomes thicker. This area deals with decision making, focus and concentration.
As a result the connections between the decision making and focus portion of the brain starts to get stronger with an increase of connections across the brain. On the other hand, connections between the amygdala and the rest of the brain become weaker.
Obviously the amount of time we dedicate to mindfulness will influence how quickly the amygdala will shrink and brand new and greater connections are made with the pre frontal cortex.
So basically, if we adopt a more mindfulness approach to life and savour the moment and develop a sense of gratitude, we will replace old easily stressed and anxious responses for more thoughtful and calmer behavioural patterns.
When we combine mindfulness with Somatic movement integration in to our body, we enrich our neuromuscular system so much more. The relaxing state we have induced with mindfulness breathing allows the brain to become more receptive to absorbing new information. We all hold stress and trauma in our body, but when we perform slow mindful movements with deep breathing, we allow the muscles to unwind and relax. This reeducation of the brain is teaching an area in the brain called the hippocampus to record, mull over and rearrange sequences. The more we perform these movement sequences with mindful breathing, we change the way we sense, feel, move and respond to internal and external influences.
Its great to see the Neuroscience and clinical evidence of mindfulness working well together. In so many ways, it will help you with the ongoing demands our modern day society put on us.
We know the health benefits of brushing our teeth. We find time this this during our day. So let’s start making time for Somatic mindfulness moments though out our day. After all the scientific evidence on the positive effects on mindfulness and movement is mounting up!